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Seahawks 5-11 quarterback Russell Wilson grows into big-time player

Seattle Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson holds the Lombardi

Seattle Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson holds the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, 2014. Credit: AP / Julio Cortez

For someone who is listed maybe generously at 5-11, Russell Wilson likes to think big. At a players meeting before the season, he pointedly told the rest of the Seahawks, "Why not us?"

"My father used to always kind of tap me," he said Sunday night, thinking back to a childhood that wasn't all that long ago. "We'd be driving in the car, and he used to say, 'Russ, why not you? Why can't you be a world champion, whatever you want to be?' So I just told the guys, why not us?"

No one could come up with an answer to that. Especially not the Broncos, who were no challenge for a once-undervalued second-year quarterback who performed like a blue-chip, two-decade veteran as the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8, at MetLife Stadium.

"For me, I wanted to go against the odds. God used me to do that, and it's a tremendous blessing," said Wilson, who is proud of being considered small for a starting NFL quarterback because he believes it is an encouraging marker for anyone who has been or will be told, "No, you can't do it."

As teammate Richard Sherman said in the same stadium in December, after Wilson led a 23-0 win over the Giants, "He's a 5-11 guy, but he moves like a giant."

This time, it was a 22-0 lead over the Broncos at halftime. And while the Seattle defense, as usual, had much to say about that -- a safety on the first play from scrimmage and an interception return for a touchdown -- Wilson made a massive impact right from the start.

Neither the Broncos nor the situation could rattle him. Although the Seahawks did not score a touchdown on their first possession -- Wilson was stopped a half-yard short of a first down on a third-down play -- he set a poised, aggressive tone on his way to going 18-for-25 for 206 yards, two TD passes and no interceptions.

"He's the general . . . I haven't seen anybody prepare the way he prepares," Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin said of a quarterback who began preparing for Sunday night a year ago, when he attended the Super Bowl as a spectator just to get a feel for it.

Receiver Golden Tate explained how Wilson does what he does: "Because he's a baller." That is, there is an essence to the 25-year-old, who signed to play professional baseball the day after his dad, Harry, died at 55 of complications from diabetes. There is something that goes beyond his statistics and his growth chart.

"I believed in myself," he said after the game, adding that after the Seahawks drafted him, he told Pete Carroll and management people that they had just made the best decision of their lives. He recalled saying, "I'm going to make the other 31 teams regret it."

Why not think that way? It led to the kind of experience he had Sunday night.

"It's kind of surreal now, to be honest with you," Wilson said. "I'm sitting there holding that trophy, I'm looking off and I'm just so thankful, so thankful for everything."


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